The ChessBard

draft-chessbardAaron is pleased to announce that a text version of the ChessBard, titled irresponsible mediums, will be published by Bookthug in Fall of 2017.  The text will collect Marcel Duchamp’s chess games and translate them into poems; the collection will also include an introduction from two time U.S. Women’s Chess Champion Jennifer Shahade. 

Aaron worked in collaboration with Jody Miller to create the ChessBard which can be found at In short, the ChessBard inputs the algebraic notation for a chess game in .PGN format (digital file format for archived chess games) and the ChessBard outputs a poem. The poems are based on 12 source poems Aaron wrote, 6 poems for the white pieces, 6 poems for the black pieces: there is a 64 word poem for each colour’s pawns, knights, rooks, bishop, queen and king. When a piece lands on a square it triggers a word from the source poems and the translator compiles them together and outputs a poem. At the site, yoau can upload an old game and have it translated at the translator page as well as play a game against the ChessBard and have that game translated into poems as you play.


The site was included in the 2015 Electronic Literature Festival’s Exhibition in Bergen Norway; there is a link to the hub here:

Exhibitions and performances of the ChessBard include: A blindfold performance against Jennifer Shahade at Ryerson University, Toronto Canada in September of 2015; and an exhibit and performance at the Phililalia Festival in Philadelphia U.S.A. in September 2016.


You can also find a few interviews with Aaron and Jody about the ChessBard:

Touch the Donkey & the ChessBard: rob mclennan

ChessBard Interview 1.0 – with Jody Miller and E. Martin Nolan

ChessBard Interview 2.0 – with Jody Miller and E. Martin Nolan

The site includes famous games and players as well as a communal Responses space. A detailed description of the proejct can be found at the About page and a lengthy poetic statement can be found at at the Poetics page. Keep checking back at the site for more content and larger projects.